Weeding out the lakes’ waters

15 December 2010

Lake Weeds

Weed No More: University of Waikato staff remove weeds from the campus lakes.

While most of us are in need a makeover and detox after the festive season, Waikato University’s campus lakes are receiving their annual clean out before Christmas, with the removal of the curly-leaf pond weed, Potamogeton crispus.

The pond weed strikes every spring once the weather begins to warm up, and normally hits the peak of its growth in late November. This leads to the familiar sight of grounds staff or eager student workers donning their waders and collecting the pond weed with pitchforks, heaving it into boats before sending it on to a local organic recycling plant to be turned into compost or mulch.

The Hamilton campus lakes are not merely for aesthetic value - the man-made catchment ponds absorb rainfall and stop the roads surrounding the campus from flooding during heavy rains. However their shallow nature makes them an excellent breeding ground for pond weed. The Chapel Lake, at 1.8 metres deep and the deepest of the three campus lakes, is unaffected by the pond weed. 

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